After four state ballot initiatives, the introduction of more than 30 state bills (some dead, some still in play), and a federal bill (passed by the House but languishing in limbo), the GMO labeling issue could end up being decided during top secret negotiations, between Monsanto’s minions and labeling advocates, behind closed doors in Washington D.C.
Welcome to democracy.
As we reported last week, on January 13 (2016), USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack met with five representatives of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Monsanto (the folks who oppose mandatory GMO labeling laws), and five representatives from the GMO labeling movement.
The meeting was “invitation only,” and participants were sworn to secrecy about what went down. All that was said publicly was “We’re still working out a compromise.”
We’ve heard our share of rumors, including a number of “compromises” that we find unacceptable. Like a mandatory QR code labeling scheme, that would not only preempt Vermont’s law, but also make it illegal for companies like Campbell’s to print on-package GMO labels.
Yesterday, PoliticoPro reported that all meeting-goers were still “mum” on the negotiations:
However, it does appear some information has been provided to members of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Chairman Pat Roberts said he knew the sides were meeting again this week, while Sen. John Hoeven, who is working on a GMO labeling bill, said he has heard from the agency about the first session, “but nothing I can be talking about publicly.”
“We are trying to get people to come together and we are not there yet,” Hoeven told MA, though he added that he is optimistic that an agreement can be reached.
Optimistic? That our side will go along with any scheme that preempts Vermont, unless it’s as strong, or stronger than Vermont’s law? Not if we have anything to say about it. Let’s keep raising our voices!
URGENT! TAKE ACTION: Tell USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack to back off and let Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law take effect!
Text “Back off” to 97779 to join OCA’s mobile network and take action!